Music

The President, his cabinet, and his advisers were surveyed earlier this year on what songs they usually sing with their spouses just before engaging in conjugal relations. The overwhelming favorites were "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America." Those anthems have been the two top favorites ever since President Dwight D. Eisenhower initiated the survey among the executive branch in 1953.

A more intriguing question from the survey was "What song would you sing or hum during an act of self-gratification?" Although it's only a hypothetical question, the answers ranged from the expected to the thought-provoking. President Bush selected "We Are the Champions" by Queen. National Security Adviser Dr. Condoleezza Rice chose a Norah Jones song. Another noteworthy answer came from Vice President Dick Cheney, who selected the pensive "Wichita Lineman" by Glen Campbell.

Perhaps the most quirky song choice came from Attorney General John Ashcroft, who named the song "Ain't Misbehavin'," written by the great Thomas "Fats" Waller (1904 - 1943). In honor of the Attorney General's choice and the centennial of "Fats" Waller's birth, here is "Ain't Misbehavin'."

No one to talk with, all by myself
No one to walk with, but I'm happy on the shelf
Ain't misbehavin', I'm savin' my love for you.
I know for certain the one you love
I'm through with flirtin', it's just you I'm thinkin' of
Ain't Misbehavin', I'm savin' my love for you.
Like Jack Horner in the corner
don't go nowhere, what do I care
Your kisses are worth waitin' for . . . Believe me.
I don't stay out late, don't care to go
I'm home about eight, just me and my radio
Ain't Misbehavin', I'm savin' my love for you.

Cheerful

From the autobiography "Over Seventy"
I feel that this is the place to touch on the report from Paradise, Nebraska, that the local agricultural school has discovered that if pigs are given eight drinks of whiskey a day they 'acquire an optimistic view of life.' Mr. John B. Fosdyke, a member of the staff of the school, says they develop a strong liking for these refreshers and 'get very cheerful.'

Does one or does one not shake the head? It all turns, it seems to me, on what is implied in the word 'cheerful.' Naturally, pig-lovers like their proteges to look on the bright side - a pig that goes about wrapped in a Byronic gloom can cast a shadow on the happiest farm - but one does not want them getting over-familiar with strangers and telling long stories without any point. And what of the morning after? I can see a Paradise pig being irresistibly gay and amusing all through Monday up to closing time, and on Tuesday sitting in a corner with its head in its hands and merely grunting when spoken to. There is no companion more depressing than a pig with a really bad hangover.

-- by P. G. Wodehouse

Magical artist person

You know the worst part about trying to draw a caricature of someone you dislike? For the whole time that you're trying to draw their face in an exaggerated but recognizable likeness, your brain is forced to think about this unsavory person. All the time that you're inspecting the lines and curves of their face, the light and shadow, you can't help but think about their egotism or obliviousness or whatever.

I discovered that I normally avoid thinking at length about unpleasant people, so spending half an hour trying (and failing) to draw one (for a friend) was no fun. I've always drawn cartoons but never for a living, and thought I could do this one. Oh well.

Keep my brother away from funerals

Mom and Dad went to the funeral of an acquaintance who had died at the age of 80. They didn't know the deceased that well, so they were surprised by the recurring theme of the funeral: the dead man had really enjoyed his golf.

Three speakers at the service told nothing but stories about how the departed had loved to play golf. My brother James asked about the burial at the cemetery... specifically, did the coffin circle the rim of the grave before finally dropping in?

Don't get around much anymore

After work a few of us went to a restaurant/bar. According to their website, the bar was offering "$1.99 mojitos!" Somebody asked me what a mojito was; I thought it was a Mexican haircut. I was picturing the interior of some noisy restaurant furnished in dark wood, brass fixtures, and vintage advertising posters, and in one corner, a barber's chair. Some guy, dressed business casual, would be getting a haircut from a young Latina while his friends stood around whooping with a beer bottle in one hand and high-fiving each other with the other hand. As it turns out, a mojito is a drink with rum.

Quiz

What is Dongola?
a. The sordid spin-off from the "payola" radio scandals of the 1950s
b. The new specially-shaped cheesy-curly snack
c. A small town in southern Illinois

Answer: c.

The bright side of auto collisions

An anonymous Atlanta woman talks about having a 3.5 ton Hummer as the family car:
I know it's not fuel efficient, but I love knowing that anything I bump into, I win.

--from the June 2004 National Geographic article "The End of Cheap Oil"

Still selling itself after the purchase

So every morning when I pick up the after shave the label says that it was "developed with athletes." Why? If it was an athletic shoe developed with athletes, I'd understand. If there were non-detectable steroids developed with athletes, I'd understand.

Why not an after shave "developed with the Fire Department of the City of New York?" The FDNY. America's heroes. Yeah, they save lives, and in their spare time... they develop... stuff, like, after shave with a cooling sensation to put out the fire on your FACE! Yeah! Somebody get me a tape recorder! When the big ideas come you gotta capture the whole thing fast.

Translation

When an Australian says "You've got a head like a half-sucked mango," it means "You are ugly," according to David Fickling in the Guardian.

The head office in California

A friend of the family works in a bank. He's in charge of many things, including the accounts of people who have died and had just their heads frozen and preserved. Our friend manages the money of the frozen people so that the cryogenic lab in California will always get paid for keeping the client's head frozen. The idea is that in the future, the clients will be unfrozen and maybe have their heads reattached to healthy bodies. I don't know where they'll get the headless bodies.

I can't think of a less appealing way to approach or cheat death. Who's to say that you'll get what you want when you're thawed out in the year 2500?

"Uh, could you change the channel? I can't reach the remote. I don't have a body."

"Hey! Could somebody come and get me out of the cat's litter box? This was funny for about one second, until I remembered I don't have a body."

"Being a guy, I never would have predicted that I'd spend a New Year's Eve in a darkened bedroom, propped up on some old lady's dresser with a wig on my head."

"Gee, being a centerpiece on your dining room table is more fun than I thought it would be. That Astro-steak sure smells good. I'd have some myself, if I had a body."

Radio ad

This commercial for some home repair company was so fast and breathless that I almost missed this part: "Call our exclusive number!"

Getting to know you

Sunday afternoon on State Street there was just the one slim girl in a summer dress at the bus stop, reading a pamphlet. A young man was walking toward her and as he got closer, he pulled off the oversized jersey he had been wearing. His black jeans were slung so low that about three inches of butt crack showed. He walked behind the woman, almost touching her, and after he passed he looked back over his left shoulder. She hadn't looked up from her pamphlet. He turned and continued his strolling across the street.

Because night is different from day

All I need is some bedtime reading to help me fall asleep. Listening to the radio doesn't help. Talk radio is too stupid and music radio is too frustrating. The only new reading I've got handy is Harper's magazine; that'll do. I've already read the short bits in the front part. What's the first full-length article? It's about "influenza, SARS, and the collapse of public health." It starts, "Death is inevitable, but not disease." Well, that's good.

How does the rest of the article go? Here's a quote: "The imminent threat, which all public-health experts agree will inevitably strike, is an influenza pandemic." Oh, this is not good. How does the article end? "We have grown so foolish and so incompetent that perhaps we do not deserve to survive. Perhaps it is simply time to die." Hmm.

Would even the author read this to his family at bedtime? "Honey, kids, I finally finished that article for Harper's! Wanna hear it?" Jeez, I gotta get the radio.